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” No Comment”

 

And is it true you made it up,

Spread those lies, blamed the fans,

Called them drunken hooligans?

No comment! No comment!

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Jungle Book – Well Worth Another Look

Jungle Book 2016How many of us have fond memories of the 1967 Disney film animation of Jungle Book? Lots, I suspect. I certainly do. Even with my dreadful memory I can still conjure up images of Baloo performing ‘Bare Necessities’ and Kaa’s hypnotic ‘Trust in me’.  So when I heard there was a new version, part of me wondered: why? But as I love animals, another part of me couldn’t wait. I wasn’t disappointed. Continue reading

Costa Rica for Wonderful Wildlife Watching

Red Eyed Frog Iconic of Costa Rica Costa Rica certainly lives up to its reputation as THE place for conservation. On a recent trip I was delighted to see a fabulous selection of wildlife: monkeys, exotic birds, sloths, frogs, snakes, as well as iguanas and other prehistoric looking reptiles.

And take hundreds of photos – that is, until my camera broke down!

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The Oscars Approach

                                                                       

               Cover Image of Spotlight the Movie                                         

The 2106 Oscars approach and  Spotlight and The Big Short are both up for the Best Picture Oscar. Deservedly so. The films bring into sharp focus two major issues of our times – paedophilia committed by Catholic priests and the crash of 2008.

Spotlight is a gripping and emotional account of The Boston Globe’s exposure, in 2002, of the Catholic Church’s cover-up of its paedophile priests. Along with the rest of Boston society, The Globe itself had been guilty of turning a blind eye to the issue. But now a new editor – Jewish, from out of town and less in thrall to the local dignitaries – was prepared to reveal all. Rather than naming ‘a few bad apples’ the decision was made to expose the systematic cover-up, right to the top. Continue reading

‘The Paying Guests’ by Sarah Waters

CaptureOur book club recently read ‘The Paying Guests’ by Sarah Waters. Here’s a review – but beware spoilers.

‘The Paying Guests’  is set in 1922 as people are still dealing with the impact of WW1. In middle class London suburbia Frances Wray, a spinster, lives with her mother. They share the family home, now empty of men. Her two brothers were killed in action. Her father is dead too but, less heroically, lost the family money before he died. Frances and her mother have decided to have ‘paying guests’ to help with the bills. Continue reading

Dietary Doom?

obesity-concept-25319680(1)Another New Year has passed and it’s a fair bet that most resolutions have already been broken. A favourite, and short-lived resolution is to diet. Or to eat more healthily. There’s much media coverage at the moment about dieting and the ‘obesity epidemic’, and mounting pressure on policy makers to take firm action. Most of us know what a healthy diet is and we can usually tell if we are overweight. Yet little changes. So why don’t we stick to those diets? Continue reading

CATS: That Memory

 

CatsAfter a gap of 30 years I wondered if I’d enjoy seeing the famous musical Cats as much this time round. I saw it in the early 1980s and it was a very special night out. The show was a huge success. Its first run in London lasted 21 years and it was a long-term hit on Broadway too. Over the years it has been performed in many other countries, been seen by more than 73 million people, and won many awards.  Now it is at the London Palladium for a short and final season. I had organised for 14 of us to go to a matinee. Would it live up to my memory? Continue reading

Tourist or Terrorist?

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I wander in awe around the city,

Those artisan arches and avenues,

Classic sights along the snaking Seine,

Pausing to admire the iconic tower.

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Borneo : Beneath the Haze


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I hadn’t noticed the smog until the taxi driver mentioned it. We were on our way from Kuala Lumpur airport to the city for a night’s stay before continuing on to Borneo. One of my travelling companions asked if we would be passing any major sights, if so, would he point them out.  The driver’s reply was alarming.  It would be hard to see anything from a distance. The whole city was covered in a smoke haze. It had been like it for weeks.

He explained more. The haze happens every year. It drifts across from Indonesia; from Sumatra and the Kalimantan province of Borneo. It’s caused by ‘slashing and burning’ – a cheap way to clear land. Some farmers might adopt the technique but the finger of blame mainly points to the palm oil producers creating space for yet more plantations. Continue reading

Words Matter

Rotella

 

As David Cameron knows, a single word can have a big impact. I am of course referring to ‘swarm’ not  ‘pig’.

Cameron calling migrants a ‘swarm’ positioned himself as uncaring and out of touch with public compassion towards our fellow humans. Repetition of that single word replays our reaction in an instant.

I had a similar experience on the receiving end of a wrong word recently – although it is utterly trivial when compared with the suffering of migrants. It was all about golf: the mental game. Continue reading

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